Sayuri Raftogianis of Southern California was a dedicated runner until a serious accident changed everything. What followed was years of crippling knee pain and two ACL reconstructive surgeries. Sayuri shares how finding ElliptiGO changed everything for her yet again, but this time for the better.
I was a runner for over 20 years. While I was running on a hot summer day in 2000, a pickup truck suddenly swerved into me and knocked me over. My knee bore the brunt of the impact, with torn meniscus cartilage and a completely severed ACL in my right knee. After ACL reconstruction, a nine month rehab and physical therapy, I resumed running and while my running regimen lasted for years, I was plagued with intermittent sore knees, normal wear and tear and painful arthritis.
While I was running on the neighborhood greenbelt with my Golden Retriever on Thanksgiving 2014, I was suddenly struck with paralyzing pain in my Vastus Lateralis. It was crippling and I couldn’t move. I didn’t have my cell phone with me so, my dog and I sat on the grass for 45 minutes before I could summon the strength to stumble all the way home. That day was the last time I ever ran.
When I went to the orthopedist, he ordered an MRI which revealed that the original reconstructed ACL from January 2000 was completely torn. The orthopedist said that the first orthopedist installed the ACL incorrectly; it was at the wrong angle and the graft wasn’t strong enough. The new orthopedist had more advanced techniques and knowledge with stronger ACL reconstructions compared to the orthopedist from 15 years ago. I went under the knife again for a second ACL reconstruction in September 2015.
The ACL reconstruction required a nine month rehab, including months of physical therapy. During post-op rehab, I experienced “my knee’s on fire” searing pain. I asked my physical therapist when I could ride an outdoor bicycle. He feared I would fall and re-injure my new reconstructed knee and wouldn’t let me exercise outside for one year. I understood and appreciated his conservative instructions and opted to exercise on an indoor elliptical trainer machine.
I eventually attempted bicycle riding outdoors and was plagued with a sore bum no matter how many new bike saddles I tried. I bought padded bicycle shorts to no avail. I eventually ditched the bike and donated it to charity. Riding a standard bicycle did not give me the same blissful euphoria and runner’s high as running did. There was no comparison. I became so depressed and felt hopeless. I desperately needed my seratonin and endorphin fix which is so addicting.
I googled alternatives to bicycle riding and happened to stumble across the ElliptiGO website. From ElliptiGO’s website, I read all the details, perused Youtube videos to take a better look at the ElliptiGO bike in action and went to my local bike shop so I could test ride the ElliptiGO bike in their parking lot. It took practice to dismount the ElliptiGO bike, but I caught on fast. Mounting was no problem. It was love at first ride! I knew I had to have it, and I got an 11R.
What do I love most about the ElliptiGO? I despise stationary exercise equipment because it makes me feel like a gerbil on a wheel. Going to the gym is very inconvenient and it’s indoors, which is boring! The ElliptiGO bike gives me the freedom to be outdoors and I’m moving forward as opposed to being stationary. It’s reminiscent of running with its running motion, without constant pounding on the joints. While I like my indoor elliptical trainer machine during inclement weather, nothing beats being outdoors with the air breezing by just like my beloved running days. The ElliptiGO bike replicates running to me; I have speed which is so sweet, and I enjoy whizzing past runners and walkers. I ring my bell and they scoot over as I whiz by. By the time I pedal home, I’ve had a great workout just like running and my knees no longer kill me. I am pain-free thanks to ElliptiGO.